Royston Hospital: Campaigners armed with 6,000 signatures meet health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, centre, with district councillor Tony Hunt, NE Herts MP Sir Oliver Hea

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, centre, with district councillor Tony Hunt, NE Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, RCH's Maggie Allen, county councillor Fiona Hill and Peter Franks of RCH. - Credit: Archant

Royston hospital campaigners have taken their fight to save the hospital all the way to Parliament – where they had a meeting with the Government’s health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Maggie Allen and Peter Franks outside Parliament.

Maggie Allen and Peter Franks outside Parliament. - Credit: Archant

Maggie Allen and Peter Franks, of Royston Community Health, headed to the Department of Health on Tuesday alongside Royston county councillor Fiona Hill and district councillor Tony Hunter.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald met them first and took the group – armed with their petition of more than 6,000 signatures – to see Mr Hunt.

The campaigners want to see the hospital – which had its beds removed in 2012 – become a hub for two GP surgeries, district nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and an integrated care home on site.

Mrs Allen told the Crow: “After weeks preparing for this meeting we went along and made our pitch to Mr Hunt.

“They did warn us that even on the day it could be cancelled, but it went ahead and we got our points across as to why we think our idea was the best option.

“Mr Hunt was quite charming, and he listened to our concerns. We told him the pitfalls we had but that we had explored all options and this is the best one, as the health centre in Melbourn Street isn’t big enough for the number of patients it already has.

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“He said he would look into it – we said in our briefing document the time limit was to be 28 days, but we’ll see.

“Afterwards Sir Oliver showed us round the Commons and the Lords, and it was fantastic.

“We got back on the train knowing we made a good case and felt positive and hopeful about going forward – and we are so grateful for the support we’ve had.

“Everyone who signed the petition got us this meeting – to go to London to talk about a hospital in Royston to the health secretary, is quite something.

“We’d like to say a really big thank you to Mr Hunt, and to Sir Oliver for arranging the meeting. Thanks to Councillor Hill and Councillor Hunter who have supported us from the beginning, and to all the members of the community who have given us so much support. Let’s hope for good news.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “I can confirm the secretary of state will be writing a letter to the chief executive of Royston Hospital.”

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